Wednesday, June 2, 2010

CROATIA - Pula, multiviews

CROATIA stamps

Location of PULA in CROATIA

Pula is the largest city in Istria County, Croatia, situated at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula, with a population of 62,080 (2006). Like the rest of the region, it is known for its mild climate, tame sea, and unspoiled nature. The city has a long tradition of winemaking, fishing, shipbuilding, and tourism. Pula has also been Istria's administrative centre since ancient Roman times.
The city is best known for its many surviving ancient Roman buildings.

1 & 9 - Adriatic sea coast and beaches

2 - Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Within the city, along the main street that from Flavia Street leads to the Forum, stands the Cathedral of Pula. It was built at the site where Christians gathered already in the time of their persecution (until the 4th century). With the ages it grew larger and assumed its present-day shape in the 5th century. It had an elongated oblong shape whose interior was divided by two rows of columns. The area around the altar was in the north, defined by a semi-circular podium with stalls for the clergy. In front of the altar area, behind it and around the very altar, still lie fragments of the floor mosaic from the 5th - 6th centuries, with memorial inscriptions of worshippers who paid for the decoration of the specific surface.

The oldest preserved remains of the church wall from the beginning of the 4th century can be seen from outside: the lower part of the rear wall belongs to this period. Due to a fire in 1242 the church underwent reconstruction on several occasions. While the upper windows of the nave were built in the early Christian period, the windows of the aisles bear typical Gothic traits.

In front of the church, a baptistery, cross-shaped by ground plan, was built in the 5th century. It was destroyed in 1885. In the beginning of the 16th century a new late Renaissance facade was built, and in front of the church, a belfry was erected in the second half of the 17th century (1671-1707). Stone blocks from the Amphitheater were used for its construction. At the site of the present-day park, east of the Cathedral, until 1657 stood the church dedicated to the patron saint of Pula - St. Thomas. This church too, was built in the 5th century and such twin ecclesiastical complexes were no novelty in Istria (Nesactium, Poreč). After its destruction in the Middle Ages, St. Thomas’ Church was not reconstructed; its surface remains were last evident back in 1812.

3 & 5 - Triumphal Arch of the Sergi - Golden Gate

The “Golden Gate” was erected between the years 29 and 27 BC by the Sergi family, in honor of three members of the family who held important positions in Pula at that time. This triumphal arch leaned against the city gate Porta Aurea thus called because of its richly ornamented arch or gilded elements. The gate and wall were pulled down in the beginning of the 19th century as a result of the city expansion outside the city walls.

The Arch was constructed in Corinthian style with strong Hellenistic and Asia Minor influences both in the method and ornaments. As the eastern side was not visible it has remained for the most part uncarved, while the western, town side is richly decorated. Today numerous cultural performances, theatrical and musical, are held on the square next to the Arch. The adjacent street is a shopping area.

4 & 8 - Forum and Communal Palace

The main square of classical and medieval Pula is situated at the foot of the central hill, in the western part of the city close to the sea. The coast where the Forum was constructed in the 1st century BC had to be filled up to gain a larger area. The Forum was the nucleus of city life, its religious, administrative, legislative and commercial center. On the northern part of the Forum stood two twin temples and a central one dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. Today only the Temple of Augustus has been fully preserved while of the second temple only the back wall, built into the Communal Palace in the 13th century, is visible.

Ancient remains of the Forum have been found during the construction of new buildings, the latest ones being "Agrippina and her time" (1st century AD). The remains have been partly restored and are now exhibited in the bank built on the site.
Even today the Forum is the administrative and legislative center of the city. During the summer months it is the venue for numerous cultural events.


At the time when Pula was a free municipality, a palace was erected in the Forum – the seat of the municipal self-government. During the Venetian rule it was the seat of the duke and provveditore, and until the present has remained the seat of the mayor. Additions over the centuries (from the 10th -16th centuries) led to a building that in an exceptional way combines architectural styles from the Romanesque until the Renaissance. The inscription built in the facade, which was restored in the 16th century, dates the construction of the Communal Palace to 1296. The year probably refers to the first greater reconstruction and addition, because this was surely the seat of the municipal government even earlier.

Earlier phases of the development of the Communal Palace in terms of its construction can best be seen on the eastern wall where Romanesque and Gothic styles intertwine. Sculptures of Telamon and Siren in the corners closed by Renaissance columns, and Baroque windows are the latest alterations of the outer appearance of the Communal Palace: neglect and negligence have left considerable traces on the building that has recently been radically restored.

6 - The Arena

The most famous and important monument, the starting and ending point of every sightseeing tour is the Amphitheater, popularly called the Arena of Pula, which was once the site of gladiator fights. It was built in the 1st century AD during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, at the same time as the magnificent Colosseum in Rome.

The ground plan is elliptical, the longer axis measuring about 130 m and the shorter one about 100 m. Gladiator fights took place in the central flat area called the arena, while the spectators could sit on the stone tiers or stand in the gallery. It is believed that the Amphitheater could seat about 20,000 spectators. Local limestone was used for its construction. In the Middle Ages it was the site of knights tournaments and fairs.

Today it is the venue for summer performances.

7 - Temple of Augustus

The Temple, situated in the Forum, is dedicated to goddess Roma and Emperor Augustus. It was constructed between the year 2 BC and AD 14 when the Emperor died. According to its shape it follows the typical pattern of temples.

The function of the Temple changed through the years: with the ending of the pagan ancient era its original pagan function ceased and the temple was afterwards used as a church, granary, and in the beginning of the 19th century it was a museum for stone monuments.

In 1944 it was hit by a bomb and completely destroyed. It was reconstructed between the years 1945 and 1947 and nowadays it houses a collection of ancient stone and bronze sculptures.

The other twin temple, of which only the back wall is preserved, is believed to have been constructed at the same time and in the same style and was called the Temple of Diana.


Postcard sent by Tanja, as "tanjameri"
Private swap - Reference HR002

Pula - Istra-Croatia


1 comment:

  1. Wow! I really like this postcard. I have been in Pula 4 years ago and that was my best summer holiday ever in Croatia. I really like this area.
    Nice one!